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Arsenal 3 - Fulham 0: imperious

The Gunners played the Cottagers off their own ground.

Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Arsenal dominated Fulham 3-0 to restore the five point lead at the top of the Premier League table. The Gunners had it wrapped up by halftime, riding one of their best halves of football to a commanding lead and cruising home in the second. Fulham aren’t slouches. They sit 8th and are in the midst of a fantastic season. And Arsenal knocked the stuffing out of them on their own ground. It was a truly impressive performance, reminiscent of the free-flowing, commanding football Arsenal played before the World Cup break.

The Gunners got goals from Gabriel Magalhaes, his third in four games against Fulham, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Ødegaard. Ødegaard’s goal was his 10th of the season, giving Arsenal three players with 10+ goals (Saka Martinelli, Ødegaard). No other club has more than one. Arsenal played liquid football all match, zipping the ball around the pitch, with combination passing and positional interchanges bamboozling Fulham’s defense.

Central to that was Leandro Trossard, who assisted on all three goals. He dropped deep to receive the ball in the buildup and got forward to link up the play around the box. What a fantastic piece of January business he was. His attacking contributions were a massive help to the Gunners as they weathered Gabriel Jesus’ absence. And they’ve done it. Gabriel Jesus returned to action, looking lively in a 13 minute substitute appearance.

The scoreline easily could have been uglier for Fulham. Granit Xhaka, who had a really good game notwithstanding the miss, Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira, Martin Ødegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, and Leandro Trossard all failed to convert excellent chances. A number of those chances came in the first half, too. Arsenal could have gone in for the break up 5 or 6 goals. It’s nice to have done more than enough so that we aren’t ruing those missed chances.

The Gunners kept a clean sheet. They have conceded only 9 goals in 14 matches away from the Emirates, the best record in the Premier League. Aaron Ramsdale made the saves he needed to make. Once again, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes defended really well in front of him. Ødegaard’s defensive workrate often goes unnoticed, and it was on full display from him today. Several times he tracked back to break up Fulham attacking moves.

I don’t think anybody for Arsenal was below a 7 out of 10 today. An excellent performance up and down the lineup.

11 more cup finals. Just keep winning, lads.